After an abysmal start Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge took quite the beating from Celtics Nation. The core of team was too old, they lacked depth, they should have resigned Delonte West,Brandon Bass is injured too much, who is Keyon Dooling?,their draft picks were questionable recently, and even last year’s Jeff Green trade were all the subject of the fans and sports talk radio’s ire. However, the biggest complaint was why the team was not blown up the deadline after barely being a playoff team as the seventh seed and showing not too many signs that they could bounce back in the second half. Danny Ainge looked like he did not do anything right. However, the good news is time has proven Ainge to be a border line genius as the Celtics have caught fire and are now challenging for the third seed with Ainge’s moves have been a huge reason why.
The first pat on the back has to be for resisting temptation and not dealing the likes of Rajon Rondo or the “Big Three”. After slow starts KG, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo are leading playoff push. KG is looking anything, but old as he is averaging almost 17 points a game and playing tremendous defense. Paul Pierce is looking healthy and playing like the scorer that a team needs to make a title run. Rajon Rondo has become a playoff machine with double digit assists the rule rather than the exception. Although Ray Allen has been hurt, the team is going to get back the all time greatest three point shooter as early as today. This is going to be a huge boost to the offense. The best part is by not dealing the team is in great cap position this off season to make a major trade and gain a big piece of the championship puzzle.
The second pat on the back is the building of the bench and the role players. The team has survived all the crazy injuries due to in large part the contributions form these role players. The team is getting a big lift with the solid play of Brandon Bass for one. The “Big Baby” Davis deal was a steal. Bass is now healthy and letting the NBA know that he can play. His jumps hot is sweet, moves well without the ball, and can get tot he hoop by attacking the basket. The bust label that was on second year man Avery Bradley is now long gone as his offensive game has caught up to his defense. Avery’s play might have made the Celtics bench stronger with Ray Allen now poised to return as a lethal shooting sixth man with Bradley taking over the starting duties. Rookie center Greg Stiemsma was also a real find out of the D-League. His defense has been solid as he positions himself well and has great shot blocking instincts. His jumps hot is also not too bad either. Keyon Dooling is also healthy now and making the not signing of Delonte West a shrewd looking move. Dooling is making big shots from long range and is playing solid defense. West on the other hand has been injured all year and is still a major head case.
Even the injured guys were solid moves. I have not ruled out Jeff Green making an impact in Boston. Next season I would not be surprised if he becomes a new toy for one Rajon Rondo with his speed and athleticism. Chris Wilcox played well early on before getting the bad news on his heart diagnosis. He got to the basket and made up for the injuries to Jermaine O’Neal. Mickael Pietrus has also been great at the defensive end and is a great shooter off the bench. I hope Pietrus can recover from his concussion before the playoffs to give Boston another shooter off the bench to go along with Ray Allen and Keyon Dooling.
The bottom line is Boston has won seven out of eight games and are trending up. The team has all the right pieces to make a major run come playoff time. This means Ainge deserves just a little credit. Perhaps he is not as dumb as people thought. Remember Go Green Or Go Home!!!!!!!